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New Department of Child Safety director determined to make things work

PHOENIX — A new agency that’s designed to protect Arizona’s children now exists, thanks to a special session in the state Legislature.

The director of that agency is determined to make it a success.

Just after signing the bill on Thursday that created the new Arizona Department of Child Safety, Gov. Jan Brewer officially hired former Juvenile Corrections Director Charles Flanagan to head the department. DCS replaces Child Protective Services, which the governor abolished for failing to investigate thousands of possible child abuse cases.

Flanagan said the state made a lot of mistakes in the past when it comes to protecting children.

“We have not responded when we should have, we have not removed children when we should have, and we have not removed children when we shouldn’t have,” he said.

Flanagan said his goal is to make sure the new department doesn’t make the same errors.

“I hope that, through our efforts, we will be successful,” he said. “But I am resolved that we will be (successful) if it is the last thing that I do on the face of this earth.”

Flanagan said his goal is to have DCS working on every one of the thousands of cases that CPS failed to investigate by the time Brewer’s term ends.